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Youth In Action
Youth In Action is an after-school enrichment program at Milwood Magnet Middle School in Kalamazoo, Mich. The program was developed to help students handle the pressures they face to take part in unhealthy behaviors as they transition from elementary to middle school and from middle to high school. The program focuses heavily on educational enrichment and offers a life-lesson curriculum aimed at reinforcing healthy lifestyles and leadership. The program offers academic support, as well as field trips, athletics and teambuilding activities. Youth In Action students are often mentored by high school students including the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders.
2010-11 Program HighlightsAPRIL/MAY 2011
These months were packed with fun and educational activities. Activities included team-building workshops, video game day, "Can-Do Kitchen" activity, a trip to the nature center, a trip to Glass Works Kalamazoo, camping trip prep at Van Buren State Park, a tour of Kalamazoo Valley Community College, a tour of Kalamazoo College and an end-of-the-school year party!
The participants also had a learning activity entitled "Life Map." The activity made the students reflect on past and present experiences in their lives, and where they would like to go in the future.
Another great highlight was the camping trip to Van Buren State Park. The participants practiced living cooperatively for two days and one night during this adventure. The participants showed great self-sufficiency during the trip and reflected on the importance of living in a positive community.
March was a month of career exploration for participants at Youth in Action. The students visited several small businesses in Kalamazoo to get a first-hand look at entrepreneurship in their town. They also had guest speakers come in and talk to them about careers in medicine and hospitals. Many participants had also expressed interest in the education field, so they were able to have a guest speaker from Western Michigan University speak to them about possible careers in higher education.
In February, the youth kicked off their Prevention Works program. The program aims to raise awareness and educate on drug and alcohol prevention among youth. Students discussed ideas on how to stay drug-and-alcohol free and live a positive and healthy lifestyle. The program aims to spread the word of prevention to their peers as well.
During the month of January students participated in the Kalamazoo Community Day of Service on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Youth in Action participants volunteered working on brush clearing at the Kalamazoo Nature Center, as well as assisting first graders with homework at El Sol Elementary school. The group also went on a winter camping trip. Participants snow-shoed into a remote campsite and showed a great deal of commitment, preparation and perseverance throughout the entire activity.
The Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders joined Youth in Action participants on a trip to the Kalamazoo Waste Water Treatment Plant. They discussed careers in science, education and the ecology of waste-water treatment.
December was a busy month for participants of the Youth in Action program. Eighth graders participated in a teen advisory board at the Kalamazoo public library, and the seventh graders participated in various team-building activities at Milwood Magnet Middle School. All students participated in service projects at Hays Park. Another great service activity for the month was the month-long Kalamazoo food drive!
First aid and safety was a big spotlight for the month of November. The students received a presentation in first aid. They were able to share what they learned with the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders when they visited them later in the month.
The program year got off to a great start with high attendance and great special events. Early in the month, the participants went to the Adventure Centre for some wall climbing, where they had to climb a large tower. They all had a great and safe time! Many students have identified academic goals for the start of the school year. The group set a 3.0 grade point average goal. Students also set goals to be better leaders, and live healthy lifestyles by participating in many school sports and extracurricular activities.